How to Strengthen Severely Weakened Tendons

Young woman exercising with his personal trainer in the gym

Tendons are connective tissues that attach the ends of your muscles to bones. Tendons are not muscle tissue, but can get torn or otherwise injured, producing weakness that leads to frequent injury or the inability of a specific joint to function properly. Some medical conditions like systemic lupus and systemic sclerosis can cause tendon weakness. Strengthen weakened tendons carefully and slowly for optimal health and wellness.

Increase tendon strength by weightlifting. This technique can be effective if you take your time and do so gradually, suggests accredited personal trainer and body builder David Robson. Start by lifting easily manageable weights, which give your muscles and the tendons that connect them to bone a chance to grow and strengthen at the same time.

Protect the tendons against injury by strengthening them through shorter range of motion movements when lifting weights, suggests Robson. This limited range of movement encourages the ligaments and tendons rather than the main body of the muscle to grow and develop, which can balance with pure bulking moves that grow and build muscle. For example, limit range of motion for dumbbell or barbell moves to about 5 inches during the negative or lifting motion of the exercise.

Change the type and intensity of your exercise workouts to prevent conditions that weaken the tendon, like tendonitis or inflammation of a tendon. Cross-training develops different muscles and prevents you from placing too much stress or strain on one body part. For example, if you lift weights one day, go jogging the next, or swim or ride your bike. Switch it up and keep your body guessing.

Follow proper technique to prevent injury to tendons, ligaments and joints. This means practicing correct body mechanics or ergonomic placement of your body to prevent injury. For example, when lifting weights, keep your back straight and your stomach pulled in to help support the lower back. Bend at the knees to lift weights off the floor, and use your thighs to lift, not your back.

Stretch before and after every workout. Stretching helps flood the body and muscular and joint tissues with blood and nutrients to warm up your body prior to exercise. Flexibility and range of motion is important in preventing injury; strengthening joints, muscles and their accompanying tendons is also achieved through stretching, according to The Stretching Institute. Stretch every day, or in the morning and evening, to increase gradual toning and function of your tendons and ligaments and the muscles they're attached to.